China holds D-Day-style invasion drills as Beijing talks tough to US and UK

China 'building infrastructure on South China Sea' says Hayton

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Fears have erupted over recent months that under Chinese President Xi Jinping, Beijing will use military force to reunify Taiwan with mainland China. Taiwan has faced a longstanding conflict with mainland China since a separate government was established on the island following the Chinese Civil War in 1949.

The nation remains an important ally of Western countries due to its close proximity to Communist China.

Now, this year alone, Beijing has conducted 20 drills simulating the invasion of Taiwan, including striking drills of island capture.

This came as British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth sailed through the South China Sea, which prompted China to warn against any “improper acts” by the UK.

Defence expert Wu Shicun warned China would not tolerate any western provocation.

He told the state-run Global Times: “China receives friends with good wine and deals with wolves with a shotgun.”

An unnamed military expert added: “[We] will closely monitor the UK warships’ activities, stand ready to deal with any improper acts, and also see this as a chance for practice and for studying the UK’s latest warships up close.”

The 20 military drills conducted so far is a stark increase on the 13 carried out the year before.

These latest exercises come following an hour-long visit to Taiwan by a US government plane two weeks ago.

This was the second by a US military aircraft in just two months.

Pressure is mounting on ‘Quad’ members – including Australia, Japan, India and the US – to counter against China’s dominance over Taiwan.

Last month defence spokesperson Ren Guoqiang said it was a “historical inevitability” for Taiwan to return to Chinese rule.

He added any further effort by Taiwan to assert its independence would be a declaration of “war”.

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The UK’s defence secretary Ben Wallace also said it was Britain’s “duty” to protect the South China Sea from Chinese control.

Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jing said China maintains its “unshakeable commitment” to unify Taiwan.

He said: “No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity.

“All sons and daughters of China, including compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, must work together and move forward in solidarity, resolutely smashing any ‘Taiwan independence’ plots.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in May: “I wish to emphasise that abiding by the One China principle is one of the things that is key to China-Australia relations.

“Taiwan is a part of Chinese territory which cannot be separated.

“The Taiwan issue is entirely China’s internal affair and is related to China’s core interests and we won’t accept any external forces meddling or interfering in this.”

The South China Sea is a highly contested region and faces claims from China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Diplomatic relations between the nations are already extremely strained.

Over recent months, Beijing has asserted its dominance in the region and has built several military bases on some of the atolls.

Despite not having a claim to any part of the archipelago, Washington has increased its military presence in order to counter China’s dominance in the region.

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